Tuesday night, Dec. 23, 1862.
News this morning that the enemy under Millroy — eight thousand — were at Mt. Jackson, Shenandoah. The papers received to-night give some interesting extracts from United States papers. The latter are evidently very much discouraged by the result of the battle at Fredericksburg. The New York "World" speaks right out and concedes the greatest defeat of the war. It says: "Heaven help us! There seems to be no help in man. Our cause is perishing — hope after hope has vanished — and now the only prospect is the very blackness of despair." A dispatch from Fredericksburg, dated 22nd, says that Seward has resigned, + the whole Yankee Cabinet will follow suit, that Halleck (commander-in- chief) will be removed, and that Burnside will resign. This is most too much of a good thing.
As an incident of the time I may mention that a milliner of this place, went to Baltimore recently to purchase goods, taking a female companion with her. The goods had to "run the blockade," in other words to be smuggled across the line, and the two persons returned, each one concealing a large number of bonnet frames under her hood + wearing any quantity of dresses and cloaks.
I have been making little wagons for various children — Addy + Lucy Waddell, J. K. Woods' little girl + others. The scarcity of toys taxes the ingenuity of persons these Christmas times.
[transcript by the Valley of the Shadow Project]